Now, time for more answers … another group of questions emerged, around the logistics and reality of blogging and writing. Do I ever feel like I’m running out of ideas? Am I a quick writer or do I linger over words? When do I write? Do I write lots of posts at once? How do I find the space/time to be so connected to my thoughts and emotions?
So … Yes, yes, and yes, I often feel like I’m running out of ideas. In those times I will write about what I see out my window, or I’ll share photographs, or an old post that I love, or a quotation or poem. Often I find that just when I think I’ve got nothing to say I’ll be inspired or triggered by another blog post, or by something I read offline, or by something my kids or friends say or do. Sometimes life just comes to the rescue.
I am a quick and careless writer. This question actually made me chuckle, because almost 100% of my posts contain typos or grammatical errors and I often catch them midway through the day with horror. I do everything quickly, and sometimes a bit haphazardly. I wish I was more methodical and cautious, to be honest.
Mostly, I write in the evenings. It is pretty hard to get me out of my house during the week; my strong preference is to stay home, read, write, and go to bed early. I know! I’m so much fun it’s hard to stand it sometimes. But my kids go to bed early so I often write for an hour or two after that. Those are calm, quiet hours that I really enjoy. At other times I can squeeze in a blog post or a page of offline writing during the day, between meetings or sometimes when I get up early. I guess the answer to “when do you write” is both simply and totally unhelpful: when I can. And yes, I often write several posts on the weekend and queue them up for the next week.
There’s no question these are busy years, that most days are so full of commitments and obligations and experiences that often I go to bed feeling a weird combination of overwhelmed and drained. I wrote a piece for Talking Writing this summer about how the reality of life with small kids permeates the experience of writing for me right now, for better or for worse. I don’t have advice, necessarily, for people wondering how to balance writing with a demanding life and career. I guess my only advice is : don’t let that stop you. Sit down. Even if it’s for ten minutes. Just put some words down. They will probably take you somewhere you never imagined, and following that trail is hugely illuminating.
The question about space and time to be connected to my emotions and feelings flummoxed me a little. I don’t feel like I have a choice about that. My emotions are so insistent, I can’t imagine not dealing with them. I’m a lousy compartmentalizer and I can’t stuff things down and ignore them. So I just deal with things as they arise. This is not an ideal way to be, truthfully, because the spiritual weather changes I go through have a real impact on those around me, most of all Grace and Whit.
A couple of you were interested in the book I’m writing, on whether blogging creates momentum for it or not, and generally about its topic and status.
There’s no question in my mind that I wouldn’t have written a book if I hadn’t started blogging. So yes, absolutely yes, writing here fuels my other writing. For sure. It also interferes, of course, because it’s another place to spill my words that isn’t my manuscript. But for me, that’s worth it: I am certain my “other” writing benefits enormously from the discipline of writing here daily as well as from my now-ingrained habit of recording the smallest nuances of my daily life.
It is hard for me to even put out in public that I’m writing a book. It really is. Pathetic, but true. But I can hear Lianne in my ear urging me to put my dearest dream out there into the universe so, gulp, here it is. I have a very rough draft of a memoir about the way my unexpected pregnancy with Grace and the bleak postpartum depression that followed her birth have indelibly altered the way I approach the world. I don’t know that the book in this form will ever reach the world, but I think it’s an important and universal topic and I’m working on figuring out how to tell it meaningfully. I also have about half of a novel written about friendship and first love, and while I had put it aside for over a year, lately I’m waking up at night with those characters in my head. I think I’m supposed to turn back to it, so I plan to do that very soon.
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